Sound Bites and Blue Laws

A few days ago, a colleague posted some thoughts about ballot measure election advertising sound bites. Although the urge to post those musings may have been a symptom of “measure madness” (an affliction that affects those of us who work on these campaigns), he made some valid points.

That got me thinking about how North Dakota measure campaigns from long ago might have used ad messages to influence voters. Now, these messages most likely were not sound bites. Many of these measure campaigns predated electronic media, even radio. However, it’s still fun to speculate, with tongue firmly in cheek, what these sound bites could have been.

1918: North Dakota general election voters passed measures which still have a major impact on our state when they established a state bank and state mill and elevator. A possible campaign sound bite? It’s not socialism…it just sounds that way. Vote Yes.

1920: Barely passed by the electorate was a measure that finally made it legal to play baseball on Sundays. Sound bite?…Get to first base on Sundays. Vote Yes.

1920,1930 & 1933: An even more weighty issue, legalizing the operation of movie theaters on Sunday, failed to pass in all three elections. In the 1934 general election, more enlightened state voters boldly passed a measure to allow Sunday movies after 2pm. That eventual result was a nail biter. A sound bite for that winning campaign could have been…See Mae West after church. Vote Yes.

North Dakota’s efforts to keep our Sundays free of leisure and commerce have gone on since statehood. After a number of unsuccessful constitutional challenges and initiated measures during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the 1991 state legislature finally allowed state retailers to join the rest of the nation in legally opening on Sundays.

Well, most of them. Even today, people wanting to buy a vehicle on Sunday are out of luck in North Dakota, as are early-bird shoppers. Make up your own sound bite for this one.

Wayne Kranzler is the CEO of KK BOLD. Vote Yes for Wayne Kranzler.

Posted on March 6, 2012 in KK BOLD, News

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